The Cleveland Browns find themselves in a precarious position with starting running back Peyton Hillis questionable after a hamstring injury and starting linebacker Scott Fujita sent home from practice with a concussion. For more on the injuries, the upcoming game against Seattle, and just the Browns in general, head on over to Dawgs By Nature.
Cleveland Browns running back Petyon Hillis may not be available for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks. Head Coach Pat Shurmur neglected to give an official status for Hillis, just noted that he would be very limited in practice and wouldn't partake in any team drills. He only said that he'd try to do "something" at practice, for whatever that means.
To further put Hillis' status on question, the Browns signed running back Chris Ogbonnaya from the Houston Texans practice squad. He's got a history with Shurmur, who was his offensive coordinator in 2009 with the St. Louis Rams, and with some quotes from Shurmur, courtesy of Cleveland.com, it's likely because he feels they need a back who can come in and be serviceable in all areas.
"I think he's a good zone runner, good in pass protection, catches the ball well," Shurmur said. "I have some history with him. So when he was available, and I'm not sure of Peyton's availability, we felt a need to get a guy who's logged more time in the league than Armond (Smith). That's why we did it."
Nothing the bit about pass protection is key, it's something coaches stress over a lot when their starting running back comes down. It's also one of the biggest deterrents to starting rookies at the position. If you're wondering how much Shurmur values it, you need only look at the fact that Hillis was supposedly hurt earlier in the game against the Raiders, but came in during the fourth quarter for pass protection.
Also of note was linebacker Scott Fujita, who was sent home from practice on Wednesday by Shurmur, after suffering a concussion against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Fujita suffered the concussion in the fourth quarter of play, and was at the Browns facility on Wednesday. Shurmur said Fujita wasn't feeling well, so he sent him home and his status for the next game, against the Seattle Seahawks, is up in the air.
To replace the ten-year veteran, the team will likely start Kaluka Maiava, who took his reps in practice.
Joe Haden and Ray Ventrone received the same treatment as Hillis did: Shurmur plans on them all to do "something," but that none of them would be involved in team drills, and have no official status for Sunday. If Haden does more than he did last week, that's significant progress because the team definitely is missing him. He hasn't practiced with the team since suffering a knee sprain against the Titans two weeks ago.